HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts


"This Harbeth User Group (HUG) is the Manufacturer's own managed forum dedicated to natural sound, realisable by controlling the confounding variables between tthe microphone and the listeners' ears.

For example, the design of and interaction between the hifi amplifier and its speaker load can and potentially will alter the sound balance of what you hear. To reproduce the sounds captured by the recording microphones, as Harbeth speakers are designed to do, you would naturally select system components (sources, electronics, cables and so on) that do not color the sound before it reaches the speakers.

Identifying components for their system neutrality should, logically, start with the interpretation and analysis of their technical, objective performance, as any and every deviation from a measurably flat frequency response at any point along the serial chain from microphone to ear is very likely to cause the total system to have an audible sonic personality. That includes the contribution of the listening room itself.

HUG specialises in making complex technical matters simple to understand, aiding the identification of audio components likely to maintain a faithful relationship between the recorded sound and the sound you hear. With our heritage of natural sound, HUG cannot be really be expected to guide in the selection, approval, endorsement or even discussion of equipment that is intend to introduce a significantly personalised sound to the audio signal chain. For that you should do your own research and above all, make the effort to visit an Authorised Dealer and listen to your music at your loudness on your loudspeakers through the various electronics offered there. There is no on-line substitute for that time investment in a dealer's showroom.

If you desire to intentionally tune your system sound to your personal taste, please consider carefully how much you should rely upon the subjective opinions of strangers. Their hearing acuity and taste will be different to yours, as will be their motives and budget, their listening distance, listening loudness and listening room treatment, not necessarily leading to appropriate equipment selection and listening satisfaction for you.

Alternatively, if faithfully reproducing the sound intended by the composer, score, conductor and musicians over your speakers is your audio dream, then understanding something of the issues likely to fulfill that objective is what this forum has been helping with since 2006. Welcome!"

Jan. 2018
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DAC suggestions

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  • #16
    No, have not heard it yet. They are backordered. I expect it to arrive in about a week.

    Originally posted by megamonkey View Post
    jplaurel: Have you heard the W4S DAC2 - whats your verdict?


    • #17
      Originally posted by megamonkey View Post
      Hi all,

      Feel free to give suggestions up to about $5000.

      Considering the nice budget frame I would definitively go for a NAIM DAC. It delivers a fine resolution paired with the right portion of soul. I currently own a Cambridge DacMagic which sounds very good already but since I have heard the NAIM.........
      Never expected such differences between DACs .

      Good luck



      • #18
        hifi_dave: Ok, I'll look around, have to see if a home loan is possible.

        Labarum: I'll consider that, thanks.

        jplaurel: Oh ok, interesting. Let us know what you think once you've given it some time.

        gerald: Yeah naim has been mentioned by a few here, did you hear the naim in a all naim system though? I'm concerned it wont sound as good outside of one...Gonna try and borrow one home and see for myself.

        Got and email last night stating that I can borrow the DAC 10 from Danish Audio Design. It's a tube dac, something I've never heard before, but I trust the guy who says I might like it so will give it a shot. Will have to use a USB-RCA bridge for this option, but Halide the Bridge should make it asynchronous as well so that seems like a rather good option - we'll see. May also borrow the naim dac and something else next weekend to make a comparison.

        If anyone is interested I'll briefly feedback how I got on at a later date.



        • #19
          Hi i have received my REGA DAC a week .
          Well compare to my REGA Apollo... the sound of the REGA DAC is more open and clear, you feel more.
          I have tested with the PC
          Sound card is Asus Xonar Ds. output by optical to the DAC. Using MEdia Monkey playing in WAV files.
          The sound it's not comparable to my REGA Apollo as transporter. There is a bit noise, and sound is missing something.. it's like slower, not as clear.
          I was thinking getting the Asus Xonar St soundcard. Wonder if it would improve.
          PPl told me i dont need a very good sound card for it, just need a 192hz one and it's good to go, since it's output only Digital. But i think different Better soundcard output better jitter, and lower the noise. So the DAC work less.
          Well have to test to know.


          • #20
            Have had the MHDT Havana DAC for quite a while. A very pleasing and musical DAC indeed. But it is beaten by the M2Tech Young DAC in every aspect. Would recommend both DACīs. But the M2Tech Young is THE winner in a head to head contest IMO. Young is right up there with the best DACī s and You have to pay a lot more to get the same level of performance!!


            • #21
              This is my first post on the Harbeth forum - greetings from the Lower Blue Mountains outside of Sydney
              I have heard and liked both the Audio Gd Ref 7.1 and the Lite Dac 83 - both are moderately priced. Both are large and heavy.
              The Weiss Dac's attract favourable comment. And have the advantage of asynchronous firewire.
              I am also a great fan of the Audio Note Dac's especially the 4.1 Signature, which second hand should come in budget.
              A solution I am contemplating is a Lux D 05 or 06 which has a coax input allowing it's dac and analogue sections to be used, while still giving you SACD capacity.
              I encourage you to try a JKeny modded hiface to convert USB to bnc/spdif or 12s. It is a stunning piece of kit and very moderately priced. I use an Auraliti PK100 music server and am very satisfied by it's capability: the JKeny matched it in my system. If I was Mac based for music I would use one.
              Kind Regards


              • #22
                If you haven't already, and you have $5000 to spend, I would chose the Berkley Designs Alpha DAC. It supports all commonly used bit depths and sample rates up to 192kHz. It will also read and identify HDCD albums. There are a lot of positive reviews on the Alpha and it is felt to be the ideal counterpart to the HRx recordings (Reference Recordings 24 bit 176kHz studio master dubs). Personally, I own a Bel Canto DAC3 and like it very much. With the available upgrade and switch mode PS, the Bel Canto is comparable to the Berkley. I've heard a good many DAC's including Weiss, Ayre, Bryston, MSB, Benchmark, and dCS. All of them are great products, but I feel the Berkley Alpha is the most musical DAC available.


                • #23
                  Yamamoto DAC - valve or solid state

                  Another suggestion that I've found out about recently is the Yamamoto DAC. They make a solid state output version and latterly made a valve output version too. Read the review on a well known internet-based review site. I've just bought their headphone amplifier and am really pleased with it.


                  • #24
                    Hi all,

                    thank you for all of your suggestions. After listening to a few suggestions I'm now the very pleased owner of a wavelength cosecant v3 DAC. A few weeks into listening and I really like it! I can't quite say what's right about it, just that nothings wrong if you know what I mean. Got it second hand so got a descent price+it's also upgradable with sabre32-chips which I think is really nice. :-)

                    It should be said that I don't have loads of experience with comparing DACs. But that said - I would recommend the cosecant to others looking for a USB-DAC and have a good size budget.

                    But as been pointed out so many times before - the only way is really to listen to the component in your own system and with music you know well.



                    • #25
                      Wow, the Wyred4Sound DAC2 sounds great at any price. My subjective impression is that it is very close to DAC in my McIntosh C50. I would say the DAC2 has a little more detail in the top end, a little more bass, with a slightly more recessed midrange.

                      Please take my subjective impression with a big grain of salt. It's difficult to do A/B testing because of all the variables. We are comparing an external device connected by patch cables to line level inputs to a DAC that is internal to my preamp. The digital input is not the same (i.e., S/PDIF optical into one DAC and S/PDIF coax into another). I am able to do level matching, but that's about it. They are so close that I doubt I could tell the difference under controlled conditions.

                      A friend of mine with better ears than mine (he is a classical pianist) has replaced his Bel Canto DAC3 with the Wyred4Sound. He says he prefers the sound, but I think the bigger factor for him is the DAC2's home theater passthru feature. He does not use a preamp, so this feature allows him to use just the DAC2 in front of his amplifier in the home theater system.

                      Suffice it to say that the Wyred4Sound DAC2 holds its own with state of the art DACs like the Bel Canto and the McIntosh, but is offered at an extremely attractive price. It appears to be a well thought-out, high quality unit, made here in the USA.

                      Originally posted by megamonkey View Post
                      jplaurel: Oh ok, interesting. Let us know what you think once you've given it some time.


                      • #26
                        I have had Benchmark DAC's in my system for over 8 years, never had a desire to bother with anything else.